When it comes to operating a motorcycle in Washington, there is a little bit to know outside of what you may know about obtaining your driver’s license. For one, you won’t exactly receive a motorcycle license, but instead will receive a Washington motorcycle endorsement that relates your motorcycle operation privileges in Washington, so you can take your motorbike on the roadways, without penalties from the DOL. It is also important to be able to distinguish whether or not the motorized bike you are operating requires a motorcycle endorsement in Washington, or if you are able to just let loose and feel the freedom of your bike without any strings attached.
Washington Motorcycle Operator’s Endorsement
If you wish to ride your motorcycle on the streets and highways of Washington, a motorcycle endorsement is required, and can be obtained by licensed Washington drivers through the Department of Licensing. There is a great deal of information about motorcycle endorsement offered on the Washington DOL site at Motorcycle License in Washington
To make sure that you know exactly what to expect, so make sure you take a look for your own benefit.
Just like with a driver’s license, the Washington motorcycle endorsement requires that you complete the appropriate training, testing, and submit the proper paperwork. Not only will you take a written skills exam, you will also take a riding exam to ensure that you are prepared for the on-road motorcycling experience. You must remember that just like with your driver’s license road exam, an appointment is required for the on-road motorcycle exam as well.
There are two different options offered for getting your motorcycle endorsement:
- Completion of Washington approved motorcycle rider training course, which you can find out more about online at Types of Motorcyle training Courses. This course will provide you with eligibility to skip the written and riding exams. You must bring your Certificate of Completion to the licensing services office near you no more than 180 days after you have passed the course.
- For those that don’t utilize the rider course, you will be required to complete and pass the motorcycle written skills exam, which is based solely on the Washington motorcycle rider’s manual. You will then be issued a practice instruction permit that allows you to get the practice you need for the road exam to come.
You must meet the following requirements if you want to obtain your Washington motorcycle instruction permit:
- Must be at least 16 years of age
- Must possess valid Washington license
- Must complete and pass motorcycle written exam
There is a $5 written test application fee, which must be paid before the test is administered. Once you obtain the instructional permit, you will be given on-road riding privileges in Washington, however the following restrictions will apply to you:
- You cannot operate a motorcycle while transporting or carrying passengers
- You cannot operate your motorcycle during the night hours
Once you complete and pass the motorcycle riding exam, you will then be charged a $25 fee for your motorcycle endorsement to be applied to your Washington State driver’s license. For those motorcycle operators in Washington that are under the age of 18, an approved rider class must also be completed before your endorsement is issued. Taking the course and obtaining endorsement under the age of 18 will also require that you first obtain parent/guardian approval.
There is no insurance requirement for Washington motorcycles, but you will have a minimum financial responsibility limit that you must follow. This could include a bond with the Department of Licensing which could be as much as $25,000 if you are ever found to be the cause of a traffic accident.